Getting old isn’t for sissies! The witty, irascible and fiercely proud Hagar Shipley escapes from home when her son Marvin and daughter in law Doris tell her she must move into nursing care. She sets out on a preposterous journey in search of a way to reconcile herself to her tumultuous past. Vulnerable to an aging brain, it becomes hard for Hagar to differentiate past from present and we come to know her as the passionate and rebellious bride in a remote prairie town whose proud father disowns her when she marries the “wrong sort”. Struggling to get to the safe haven of an abandoned house she remembers near the ocean, Hagar can’t stop from reflecting on how her sprawling life was full of twists and joys denied. As her mind wanders in and out of the present, we experience with her the defining moments, hidden passions and characters of her past – her affluent but cold and demanding father whose suffocating love drives her to rebel and marry the opposite of the man he would have chosen for her; her husband Bram Shipley, a man who unleashes her passion for love and life, yet refuses to meet the rigid social standards she is driven by; and the children she bears, sons whose future becomes ruled by the past. While hiding out in the dilapidated house, she meets a young man, Leo, who unwittingly causes Hagar to face the one big secret she must take to her grave -her role in her youngest son’s spiritual and physical death. Coming to terms with mortality, Hagar also must wrestle with and slay her bitter pride – the same pride that denied her the love and appreciation for her living son who craves his mother’s love and approval. Hagar now acknowledges the irony of having lived her life craving her father’s approval, something she never gained. Hagar quickly becomes deathly sick and is finally found by Marvin just in time. Although now willing to go to a nursing home, Marvin tells her it is too late. The hospital will be her next and last stop. But as mortality edges near, their relationship develops new terms and Hagar admits that Marvin’s father was a good man in his heart and that she and Marvin can be proud of the name they carry. Nearing the end, Hagar can no longer struggle against her emotions. She recognizes just how much her pride cost her and her family and how her own father’s influence defined her against her will. She and Marvin find the closure and redemption they seek from each other.
“The Stone Angel” opened in Canadian movie theaters in April 2008.